It has been over 3 months since the election and just a few short months till the next election. What are you going to do? Matt Robbins at American Majority has some ideas…
1.) They Don’t Like Being Watched: They say a watched pot never boils, but boy is that not the case here. Just ask former Senator George Allen. Or former Congressman Bob Etheridge. Or even Congressman Chris Lee (what a hunk, huh?) I can go on. A hundred dollars and a trip to the Wal-Mart camera aisle could be the best investment in changing the status quo an activist ever makes.
2.) Watching Them Matters: And those are just the most public cases, the ones on YouTube. How about blogging to monitor the two things every elected official has? I call these “votes and quotes”. Whether filing FOIA requests, sifting through hours of legislative session coverage, or just showing up at public meetings and hearings for your three minutes of open mike time, you will eventually strike gold.
3.) Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain: This is probably the hardest one for newcomers to politics to grasp. After all, endless handlers, gatekeepers and “body” people strive to maintain a certain mystique about actually meeting your representative. I hate to tell you this, but there is no Great And Powerful Oz. Just the man (or woman) behind the curtain. And they put their pants on one leg at a time, just like you.
4.) Effectively Challenging Them is Not Rocket Science: There are two words in Webster’s dictionary you should never confuse: simple and easy. Winning a political race is a pretty non-complex idea. He with the most votes WINS. Yet every year great, talented people stay out of elections or misapply their energies over the long haul.
5.) The Path to Victory is a Straight Line: I say this because you can draw it on that most basic of all campaign tools: a calendar. Most banks give them out for free. Get yourself one. Then circle the election date (primary or general) and work backwards from it, filling in all the various, labor-intensive, time-consuming things you’ll have to do to get from Point A to Point B. Time flies when you’re walking doors!
6.) Politics is a Game of Musical Chairs: Which is why it’s so vital to have solid, competent conservatives ready to run at all levels—from local to state to federal. There is rarely a year that goes by without an elected official being caught in a scandal, resigning, being appointed to a different office, or just plain keeling over. Somebody’s going to sit in that empty seat—it might as well be you!
7.) Good Old Boys and Gentlemen’s Agreements: Challengers or new blood threaten business-as-usual. Cronyism–crossing the political aisles–secret agreements not to back same-party candidates because one representative has “good working relationships” with bi-partisan colleagues, I’ve seen it all. It’s part of the problem. And us rooting it out is one of the things most terrifying to anyone up for re-election.
8.) Some of Them Hate Their Jobs: Really, you’ll be doing some of them a favor by retiring them. So many elected officials have been “phoning it in” for years. Many don’t even have it in them to campaign with any heart even one last time. Help these poor souls out by letting them know early (and loudly) that they won’t be getting a pass when the next convention or primary takes place.
9.) Entourage Is Not Just a Show on HBO: This is one of the most insidious parts of elected office. How many of us (besides Kramer on Seinfeld) have personal assistants? Schedulers? A muted chorus around us at all times, giving what I call the “golf clap” (a hushed applause at the politician’s brilliance)? Probably one of the most important services you can render a representative is to proclaim that the emperor has no clothes!
10.) Carrots AND Sticks: With all due respect, politicians can be mule-headed much of the time. And all too often, we don’t mind taking them to the woodshed only. But what was it Dale Carnegie wrote? “How to Win Friends and Influence People”? Praising an official when they do something right (preferably publicly) can stick in a politico’s mind just as much as a beating with a switch.